I’m a very fortunate man to have the love of my life for four years. I’m 70 and had two previous long-term relationships amounting to 40 years.
My first wife had facial surgery that made her beautiful, and life at home became uninteresting for her. That harmed the connection with me and our two kids.
Six years ago, my second wife said that she wanted a "great marriage, not just a good one.” That was after her receiving an inheritance in the millions. The pain and humiliation of those experiences still affect me.
Now, I’m in a relationship with a lady who’s 60, bright, pretty, with a killer body from daily exercise and healthy nutrition.
Her fitness is especially pleasing because I’m still active and quite strong.
This relationship has been mostly on weekends but we’re moving together into a place where she can be close to work.
I don't fully understand why she adores me and don't exactly feel deserving, but I now get more affection and positive attention in a weekend than I previously could expect in six months.
Sex is the problem. It’s mostly fantastic and way beyond anything I expected at this age. But there have been three instances in the last six weeks where I’ve become erect but failed to reach orgasm.
There were similar instances over the last decade, but the frequency seems increased now. My partner’s very understanding, supportive and eager. We do other stuff.
We now use Saturday as a rest day giving me time to build up for Sunday.
My question: Is this an inevitable slide to becoming incapable? Is there anything that can be done to help my performance level?
One of the reasons I enjoy reading letters such as yours is that, despite worrying, the telling of your previous relationship breakups is straightforward and self-effacing despite being sad.
And, at 70, you’re uplifted by a new, loving relationship that’s “mostly fantastic” sexually. Terrific, but occasionally it doesn’t let you reach orgasm.
Your bottom-line question whether this is an “inevitable slide” or whether anything can help your performance level, shows you’re an optimist at heart. I certainly hope you’ll be rewarded for it.
So, here’s the most important next step: Talk to your doctor openly about this. Make no assumptions on your own.
I can only get you prepared for the actual medical discussion, through research on the topic.
From the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a US-based interest group regarding issues affecting those 50-plus:
“Plenty of guys 50 and older experience difficulty with orgasm and ejaculation,” says Dr. Louanne Weston, a sex therapist. One study found the problems affects as many as 23 percent of men ages 65 to 74, and 33 percent of men 75 and older.
Says sex therapist Dr. Dennis Sugrue, "As men age, they notice that their penis needs more stimulation to trigger ejaculation. This is normal, but often disconcerting."
Also “Your physician should investigate possible infections, drug issues, or pain or neurological problems.
“Antidepressants are notorious for impairing sexual performance. Alcohol is most associated with erectile dysfunction, but in some men, it causes orgasm problems. Other drugs may also contribute, such as pain relievers (Aleve, Naprosyn), anti-anxiety (Xanax, Valium), and numerous blood pressure and psychiatric medications, among others.”
More advice: Practice Kegel exercises. These simple, exercises tone the pelvic floor muscles, intensifying orgasm and strengthening ejaculation. Ask your doctor for instructions or look online for tutorials.
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter-writer of “Monday Morning Blues” (February 8):
Reader – “First, go for a walk outside. It’s amazing how fresh air clears the mind. Also, maybe get into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), or as I call them, “mind games”.
It means getting in the routine of just focusing on the positives in your life each morning. I suffer from anxiety and am amazed how some simple “mind games” can change my whole outlook.”
Ellie - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is described by the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as a short-term form of psychotherapy that focuses on the problems that come up in day-to-day life.
Also, CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving regulation of your emotions and developing personal coping strategies regarding current problems.
Reader #2 – “Get a lamp with a full spectrum bulb, which emulates sunlight and is used to help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”
Tip of the day:
Talk to a physician about age-related changes in sexual performance that may be normal/easily treatable.